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William A. "Bill" Collins

Obituary for William A. "Bill" Collins

September 19, 1944 - July 7, 2020
| Age 75

Obituary

United States Army First Sergeant William A. Collins III, AKA "Big Bill" was the oldest of two children born to the late William A. Collins Jr. and the late Gladys Collins. His youngest sibling Edith Collins was born to William A. Collins Jr. and her mother also named Edith Collins. He is preceded in death by his younger brother Robert Collins. He was born on September 19, 1944 in Philadelphia, PA and died peacefully in his home on Tuesday, July 7, 2020, in Philadelphia, PA at the age of 77.
Bill grew up in the Roman Catholic Church but later converted to the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas the second oldest black Church in Philadelphia. In 1962, he graduated from Roman Catholic High School, where he played Varsity Football and Basketball. He was a 3-time Varsity letterman and also achieved All- Catholic honors while playing starting tight end and defensive end. He served in the United States Army 82nd Airborne from 1962-1965 active duty his highest rank being that of First Sergeant. He served the United States in the Dominican Republic Civil War in 1965. After returning home to Philadelphia, he began working for the Philadelphia police department as an 18th district officer, Highway Patrolman, a department lieutenant, District Attorney Investigator and eventually retiring after a stellar career of 24.5 years on the force. Bill continued to serve his country in the U.S. Army Reserves for an additional 20 years. Later in life Bill continued his educational pursuits at St. Joseph's University where he majored in Criminal Justice.
Bill was a self-taught historian and would often quiz any friend or family member with random trivia questions especially on the topic of boxing. He was proud to have met, Joe Frazier, Muhammad Ali and George Foreman during the course of his lifetime. But even more than boxing, he loved the Philadelphia Eagles. Annually, Bill would travel to the most distant Eagles away game to show support for his team. He loved to share stories about his conversations with Reggie White and Harold Carmichael. Bill may be most notable for his corny jokes and riddles. Bill was a member of Christian Lodge No. 12 of the Most Worshipful Prince Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, where he served as a Past Master. He was also a 32nd Degree Sublime Mason and a Shriner in Pyramid Temple No. 1 (Ancient Egyptian Arabic Order
Nobles of the Mystic Shrine).
Bill spent some of his happier times debating at his local watering hole, fishing, spending time with his lodge brothers and watching The History Channel. He will be forever remembered by all who knew him for saying whatever came to his mind no matter how controversial it may have been.
Bill is survived by his wife Peggy Collins; children, Lynn T. Collins, Hiram Will Mega Ashantee, Cheryl Collins and Rashad Richburg; grandchildren Keyveat, Kasai, Kasir, Kyree, Jasear, Mylani, Jayden and Amari, a sister, Mrs. Edith Stevens and two Sister-in-laws, Veronica and Tina. Bill is also survived by several nieces and nephews all of whom will dearly miss him.

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Geitner/Givnish Funeral Home, Inc.

6230 North 5th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19120
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